March 20th, 2016
01:12 PM ET

Priebus rejects the notion of who gets the most votes wins “..the voters are certainly empowered. But the delegates' vote, based on the outcome of those elections”

SOTU

Today on CNN’s State of the Union, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus joined CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent Dana Bash, to discuss the delegate process, rule 40 and more.

 

For more information, see http://cnnpressroom.blogs.cnn.com/. Also, text highlights and a transcript of the discussion are below.

 

MANDATORY CREDIT: CNN’s “State of the Union”

 

Contacts: Lauren Pratapas — Lauren.Pratapas@turner.com; 202.465.6666; Brooke Lorenz- Brooke.Lorenz@turner.com

 

CNN STORY: Priebus on convention: 'The minority of delegates doesn't rule for the majority'

 

TEXT HIGHLIGHTS

 

Priebus on the video of Trump’s campaign manager at a rally: “You know, there is a lot of discussion this morning about the Trump campaigns - campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, being in a confrontation with a protester.  Trump said this morning that he gives Corey Lewandowski credit for dealing with people who were holding terrible signs. But are you concerned about what that video shows?  It's on the screen right now.”  [PRIEBUS] “Well, I haven't seen the video.  And obviously, as I’m talking, everyone else is looking at the video.  I saw some still images this morning before getting on earlier shows.  But clearly look - what I’ve said is that - and I think everyone agrees that getting involved in confrontations, violence is not the answer.  Getting involved is not the answer. I think you leave these things up to the professionals.  You've got professional police.  You've got secret service.  That's what I would say.  I think that's what everyone sort of agrees with at this point.  And it's certainly not something that we would condone as far as the continuation of violence.  And it goes to both sides.  I mean, it starts with agitators and then people take matters in their own hands.  It just obviously doesn't work.”

 

Priebus on the delegate process: “Well, there's two things.  Number one, I mean, history would show whether it be Walter Mondale, Gerald Ford, when someone's a little bit short, you know, you let the process play out.  And generally if it's that close, generally that's what happens.  But certainly what I would say is that the minority of delegates doesn't rule for the majority. So this is a delegate-driven process.  This is the first time in a long time people actually cared about delegate count.  But delegates matter.  And so the majority of voting delegates in our party choose the nominee.  That's the way it is, Dana….” [BASH] “Well, I’m glad you mentioned that because one of your committee men, Curly Haugland said this week that it is the party, not the voters, choosing the nominee. Do you agree with that as chairman?” [PRIEBUS]  No, I think it's a combination of the two.  I mean, the voters create the bound delegates.  So if you're voting in a state, when candidates receive a certain amount of votes, they bind the delegates to that candidate.”

 

Priebus on rule 40: [BASH]  “… of the majority of delegates from eight different states.  So has to win eight states in order to win the nomination.  Are you committed to keeping that rule in place? [PRIEBUS]  First of all, it's not exactly right.  What the rule says is that in order to be nominated on the floor, you have to have the majority of delegates from eight states.  And by the way, that was put in in 2012 for the 2012 convention…The rules committee for the 2016 convention will decide what that rule is.  So now - and there's nothing mysterious about that. You know, I tend to be a person who likes to keep things the way they are.  But that's not my decision, though, Dana.  I'm not the person that gets to decide.  The delegates that get elected in each of these states make the decisions for what the rules for the 2016 convention will say.  And I’m not saying anything nefarious.  This is just the way it is….. Well, I mean - There is (ph) always risks to every decision that you make.  But there will always be a perception problem if people continue to miss - to not explain the process properly.  So the 2012 rules committee writes the rules for the 2012 convention.  The 2016 rules committee writes the rules for the 2016 convention….This is very simple.  The delegates get elected.  The delegates fill the slots on these different committees, and there's many committees.  There's platform, rules, credentials.  Those delegates make the decisions on the governance of the convention that they're a part of.  That's really simple to me.”


FULL TRANSCRIPT

THIS IS A RUSH FDCH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

 

DANA BASH CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Donald Trump said this week he expects a riot if the nomination is handed to somebody else at the convention in Cleveland.

 

And the Cleveland police seem to agree.  The department is seeking to buy 2,000 sets of body armor and batons in preparation for the July event.

 

Is this weekend's violence at Trump rallies a preview of what's to come at the convention?

 

Joining me now is Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee.

 

Thank you very much for joining me.  I appreciate it.

 

Let's start with...

 

REINCE PRIEBUS, REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN:  Good morning, Dana.

 

BASH:  Good morning.

 

Let's start with that violence at the Trump rally in Tucson, Arizona, yesterday.  That happened.  Last week, there was violence in Chicago.  Is this the image that the Republican Party wants to project in the country?

 

PRIEBUS:  No, it's not the image, number one, that we want to project, but it's not the image that we are projecting.  It's an image that - that I think has been out there, unfortunately, at some rallies.

 

But I think both the campaign side from Donald Trump and everyone else involved has said that violence is not the answer.  And it isn't the answer.  And so I would say to leave these things up to the professionals.

 

And, as far as your comment about Cleveland, the city and the police department, they were planning on - on buying those things far before any of this became a topic.  So, they're prepared.

 

Each city gets $50 million in security money.  And I'm sure both Philadelphia and Cleveland are going to do all of the preparations necessary to ensure a safe environment in Cleveland.

 

BASH:  OK.

 

You know, there is a lot of discussion this morning about the Trump campaigns - campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, being in a confrontation with a protester.  Trump said this morning that he gives Corey Lewandowski credit for dealing with people who were holding terrible signs.

 

But are you concerned about what that video shows?  It's on the screen right now.

 

PRIEBUS:  Well, I haven't seen the video.  And obviously, as I’m talking, everyone else is looking at the video.  I saw some still images this morning before getting on earlier shows.  But clearly look - what I’ve said is that - and I think everyone agrees that getting involved in confrontations, violence is not the answer.  Getting involved is not the answer.

 

I think you leave these things up to the professionals.  You've got professional police.  You've got secret service.  That's what I would say.  I think that's what everyone sort of agrees with at this point.  And it's certainly not something that we would condone as far as the continuation of violence.  And it goes to both sides.  I mean, it starts with agitators and then people take matters in their own hands.  It just obviously doesn't work.

 

BASH:  OK, let's turn to the matter of you not having a nominee in sight.

 

Donald Trump told CNN this week that if he is 20 or 100 delegates short of the magic number of 1237, he should still get the nomination.  Does that sound fair to you?

 

PRIEBUS:  Well, there's two things.  Number one, I mean, history would show whether it be Walter Mondale, Gerald Ford, when someone's a little bit short, you know, you let the process play out.  And generally if it's that close, generally that's what happens.  But certainly what I would say is that the minority of delegates doesn't rule for the majority.

 

So this is a delegate-driven process.  This is the first time in a long time people actually cared about delegate count.  But delegates matter.  And so the majority of voting delegates in our party choose the nominee.  That's the way it is, Dana.

 

I was - I won on the seventh ballot as chairman of the party.  Now that's hardly a landslide.  But I was never behind.  And no one gave it to me on the second or third ballot.  In fact, I had to fight and fight and fight.  And eventually I got the majority.  That's how it works.

 

And so the votes that happen in the states enfranchise the delegates to go to the floor and vote.  So everyone is - no one's disenfranchised.  In fact, they're empowered by the delegates that they receive, but they have to have the majority.

 

BASH:  Well, I’m glad you mentioned that because one of your committee men, Curly Haugland said this week that it is the party, not the voters, choosing the nominee.

 

Do you agree with that as chairman?

 

PRIEBUS:  No, I think it's a combination of the two.  I mean, the voters create the bound delegates.  So if you're voting in a state, when candidates receive a certain amount of votes, they bind the delegates to that candidate.

 

Look, 150 years ago, this is what it used to be.  People would run for delegates in their states.  They would win these elections, and they would go to the floor of a convention.  And they'd vote for who they wanted.  And that's how we picked a nominee.  The same thing Kiwanis would do.  The same thing the NRA would do.

 

Somewhere along the line, Dana, as people decided that they would expand the participation and they said, we'll have these primaries and caucuses, but then we bind the hands of the delegates for just one vote, based on that outcome.  And then it expanded into other things.  So the voters are certainly empowered.  But the delegates' vote, based on the outcome of those elections.

 

BASH:  Let’s - you know, because of all of the interest in your rules, there is a lot of knowledge now about rule 40 of the RNC.  It's something that was adopted in 2012.

 

PRIEBUS:  There's a lot of misinformation, too.

 

BASH:  Good.  So let's clear it up.

 

PRIEBUS:  OK.  Go ahead.

 

BASH:  It was adopted in 2012.  A candidate - it says a candidate must have the support…

 

PRIEBUS:  Yes.

 

BASH:  … of the majority of delegates from eight different states.  So has to win eight states in order to win the nomination.  Are you committed to keeping that rule in place?

 

PRIEBUS:  First of all, it's not exactly right.  What the rule says is that in order to be nominated on the floor, you have to have the majority of delegates from eight states.  And by the way, that was put in in 2012 for the 2012 convention.

 

BASH:  Right.

 

PRIEBUS:  The rules committee for the 2016 convention will decide what that rule is.  So now - and there's nothing mysterious about that.

 

You know, I tend to be a person who likes to keep things the way they are.  But that's not my decision, though, Dana.  I'm not the person that gets to decide.  The delegates that get elected in each of these states make the decisions for what the rules for the 2016 convention will say.  And I’m not saying anything nefarious.  This is just the way it is.

 

BASH:  Right.

 

PRIEBUS:  So you could be voting at the (INAUDIBLE) - go ahead.

 

BASH:  No question about that.  But you understand politics.  And then there are rules, and then there is perception.  And given the environment out there right now, do you think it's a bit dangerous to change the rules, even if it's OK, even if it's sort of legal within the party of boundaries, it certainly will look like potentially like things are being rigged one way or another if and when the rules are changed given the environment.

 

PRIEBUS:  Well, I mean - There is (ph) always risks to every decision that you make.  But there will always be a perception problem if people continue to miss - to not explain the process properly.  So the 2012 rules committee writes the rules for the 2012 convention.  The 2016 rules committee writes the rules for the 2016 convention.

 

Are you trying to say that the rules committee that was made up of Romney delegates should write - should enforce the rules for the 2016 convention which will largely be made up of Trump/Cruz delegates?  I mean, that wouldn't make any sense, would it?  I mean, that's what I don't understand.

 

This is very simple.  The delegates get elected.  The delegates fill the slots on these different committees, and there's many committees.  There's platform, rules, credentials.  Those delegates make the decisions on the governance of the convention that they're a part of.  That's really simple to me.

 

BASH:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  Appreciate it.  Sounds simple to you, but it’s going to be something you're going to have to explain over and over.  I appreciate it.

 

And as the -

 

PRIEBUS:  Well, thank you for letting me.

###END INTERVIEW###

 

 

 

 


Topics: CNN
tmpl
soundoff (No Responses)

Comments are closed.